Another day where some things went to plan, and others… not so much!
But that’s not always a bad thing. 🙂
While today wasn’t as warm as yesterday, we were still very mild. For the first time in ages, there was no ice at all on the cats’ water bowls!
Things are very messy out there. While checking on things, I saw that one purchase we made in the fall had most definitely paid off!
This is the waterproof case covering the plugs for the power cords between the cats’ house and the sun room. The cords themselves are encased in ice. I’d have to chip them loose. The waterproof case, however, seems to be absorbing heat and has melted out it’s own little space. It is not sitting in water at all, but everything around it is very wet.
We did have to buy them (it came in a three pack) online, because no local stores carried any. It was well worth the time and effort to find them!
Later this morning, I brought our van in to get the new EGR valve cleaned out of whatever crud came loose from the lines that were too far to reach to clean. It was just a drop off, and he was really busy with other customers, so I just left the keys in the office and headed out. Thankfully, it was much warmer than the last time the van was brought in, so I had no problems walking around outside while I waited.
There were two things that I wanted to get with my tax return. The garden soil, which will have to wait until it thaws out enough to be loaded onto the trucks, and a chainsaw. We’ve been doing some research and are leaning towards a battery operated chainsaw. I could have bought one online, but there is the place I took our riding mower to last summer, not far from the garage. They sell and service riding mowers, chain saws, weed trimmers and a whole host of landscaping related tools, and I wanted a chance to actually talk to someone and get feedback and advice.
I am glad I did!
Also, they had zero issues with medical mask exemptions. I walked in with my Mingle Mask, and they didn’t even blink. Bonus!
So I started talking to the guy about what I was thinking of (and what my budget was!), and about the sort of work I need to do. The main thing is, I’ve got those dead spruce trees to take down. They’re about 60 ft tall, and there’s probably 6 of them.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t really show me different models suitable for the job, as he just got new inventory for the season, and they weren’t even in the computer yet, never mind on the shelves. Of what he did have on display, they were waaayyy out of my budget, and designed more for commercial needs.
For a job like the dead trees, they recommended a gas powered chainsaw, because a battery powered one would drain way too quickly, even with the high end, high power models. And you don’t want to run out of juice half-way through cutting down a tree! Given what I would be using a chainsaw for the most, they suggested I might want to simply rent a gas powered chainsaw to take down the trees.
And when I mean “they”, I mean the owner/manager I was talking to, and the guy at the counter that chimed into the conversation.
Who turned out to be the Stihl rep that just happened to be there when I came in.
We are already fans of Stihl products. We’d had a Stihl chainsaw that we gave to my late brother when we last moved out of province and to a city. We had been very happy with it, and so was my brother. I don’t know what happened to it after he died, but it certainly isn’t here on the farm.
Having a guy from Stihl right there to give me advice was welcome, indeed!
We spent quite a bit of time talking about what I needed and, in the end, they suggested that I wait until the end of the month to get a battery powered chainsaw. That’s when a sale is starting, and I’d be able to get one with a higher powered battery for the price of one with the regular powered battery.
As we were talking about the dead trees I need to take down, I mentioned that we have other ones that are closer to the house that we plan to hire someone to take down. It would probably be easier – and safer – to get them to take down all the other dead trees as well. The manager started looking something up on the computer when I added that we’d already hired a particular company to take down the trees that were hanging over our roof, and to clear our power lines. As soon as I said the name, he turned back to me from the computer, saying he was just about to look up the contact information for the same company to give me as a recommendation! This company has a most excellent reputation. 🙂
So I had pretty much decided that I would wait until the end of the month, then come back to buy the chainsaw, when I remembered something else I ask about. Little hand held chainsaws, and if they had any.
I swear, both of them got so excited! Especially the Stihl rep.
The manager wasn’t sure if he had any, then spotted them and pointed them out.
I was confused. All I saw was a display of weed trimmers.
It turned out the boxes were on the shelf above the trimmers. His last three of the dozen he’d just added to his inventory. There were none actually on display, because he’d never had a chance to add any!
They got one down for me and opened the box.
Oh, if only I’d had this in the last few years! I didn’t even know they existed until a month or two ago. There are so many jobs I’ve been doing with pruning saws, a carpenter saw, and the reciprocating saw (which seemed to be giving up the ghost when I last used it around the pump shack) – even buck saws – that would have been much, much easier with this tool!
Yup. I picked it up.
I now have a baby chainsaw.
Okay, it’s really a “cordless garden pruner”. Whatever. It’s a baby chainsaw. 🙂
I decided not to wait until the sale at the end of the month, because there was no way of knowing there would be any left. These things are so insanely popular, the manufacture can’t keep up with the demand. I can totally see why.
As I was getting ready to pay for it and we continued to chat, I mentioned that I’d first discovered these existed online.
Both of them practically jumped in horror, almost simultaneously saying, “noooo!!!! Don’t get it online!” They both had stories to recount of people coming to them with these little chainsaws that they’d bought on Amazon that had already broken. The Stihl rep had a woman insist that she’d bought hers from Stihl, and wanted it repaired or replaced. A $20 hand held “chainsaw”. The one they carry – that I was in the process of buying – is just under $200. His comment to her had been, why would Stihl sell their $200 product for $20 – and also undercut their distributors?
My comment was, you get what you pay for!!!
So, I have a new “baby” in the house. One that’s going to get a real work out this spring! Eventually, I’ll be getting a second battery.
We will still need a chainsaw, but I will bring in the little electric one I found in the garage and see what they can do with it. It likely just needs to have its chain sharpened, but the chain might need replacing.
Which had reminded me that I want to bring in our new push mower. I mentioned this to them, telling them how it had worked fine when I bought it in the spring, then didn’t use it for most of the summer (when it got too dry for grass to grow), then suddenly I wasn’t able to start it anymore.
The first question they both asked: where do you buy your gas?
Yup. Just like with our van. That poor quality co-op gas! Even though we only used premium, it makes no difference. They had both seen all sorts of problems from people who bought their gas from the co-op. It seems that not only do they provide the poorest quality of fuel, but also the oldest. Gas is only good for about a month. This fuel seems to already be old before it gets to the stations. Leave it sitting in the tank of a lawn mower or something over the summer, then try and start it, and it’s likely the fuel is several months old. After I described what was happening with our new push mower, he figures he’ll probably have to take the carburetor off to clean it.
Sounds a lot like what was going on with the EGR valve in our van!
Speaking of which…
I was able to leave my purchase at the store until after I picked up the van. The new valve did, indeed, have crud in it. It only took the mechanic half an hour to clean it, so the bill was very small. He cleared the codes, too, of course. Once again, he recommended I just drive it as much as I could.
I needed to use up time so that I could stop at the post office after it re-opened on the way home, as we are expecting packages to come in this week, so I ran some errands, then drove to different areas where I could park and play Pokemon Go for a while. At one point, I was pulled over and left the engine running while doing a gym battle in the game. After finishing and getting ready to move on…
I saw the check engine light was on again!
After finding a better place to park, I hooked up the OBD II reader, and got the same two codes as before.
So I phoned the garage and left a message, adding that there was no need to call me back today. We might just leave it until I bring the van back for regular maintenance, which would be to put the summer tires back on, next month or so.
Too bad we didn’t have to run the van so much back when gas was really cheap for a while.
Ah, well. It is what it is!